Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Well-deserved Gold Gloves for Jeter, Tex

I hope all this statistical nonsense about Derek Jeter being a bad defensive shortstop is finally put to rest after his superb defensive play this year earned him his fourth Gold Glove. Jeter, perhaps motivated by constant criticism of his defense, worked hard last offseason on improving his flexibility and lateral movement. And the work paid off. He committed just eight errors in 2009 compared to the league average for shortstops of 17 and led at the position in the American League with a .986 fielding percentage.

Hey stat geeks, is that good enough for you?

"I've said it time and time again, playing championship-caliber baseball starts with pitching and defense, and I think those two components were certainly the foundation for our success in 2009," Jeter said. "I've always taken a great deal of pride in my defense, and being honored with a Gold Glove is an accomplishment I will never overlook."

Mark Teixeira's defense was outstanding all season, but I was particularly impressed by his stellar D during the playoffs. Despite his offensive struggles, Tex never lost focus on the field and saved at least five runs during the Yankees' title march. Tex fits in perfectly in the grand Yankee tradition of brilliant first basemen, particularly guys like Don Mattingly and Tino Martinez, who were both great defenders and strong hitters.

"Solid defense is the most underrated component of winning baseball, but it is something I have always taken pride in," Tex said. "Winning a third Gold Glove means a lot to me, especially when good defense helped our entire team reach the ultimate goal of a World Championship."

Thanks OneTwo1 via Wikipedia for the Jeter photo and chris.ptacek via Wikipedia for the Teixeira picture.

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